Well, Shiver Me Timbers!

Image result for a smooth sea never made a skillful sailor

This old English proverb, famously quoted by President Franklin D Roosevelt, packs a powerful punch. No wonder it often appears on motivational websites. Chins up, people, gotta roll with them punches! When the going gets tough, the tough get going …

But we’re not talking fisticuffs here, we’re talking sailing! It always amazes me how many English words and phrases come from our proud seafaring past. Here are just some of them:

A shot across the bows
All at sea
Batten down the hatches
Between the Devil and the deep blue sea
Broad in the beam
By and large
Close quarters
Cut and run
Edging forward
Fathom out
Full to the gunwales
Get underway
Give a wide berth
Go by the board
Hand over fist
Hard and fast
High and dry
In the offing
Know the ropes
Loose cannon
On your beam ends
Panic stations
Plain sailing
Push the boat out
Shipshape and Bristol fashion
Shake a leg
Slush fund
Taken aback
The bitter end
The cut of your jib
Three sheets to the wind
Tide over
Touch and go
Walk the plank

A saying similar to the one used by FDR is, Take the rough with the smooth. Bet that one has a nautical origin too!

I suppose proverbs like these stand the test of time because they express simple, obvious truths. You only learn to handle difficulties by, well, handling difficulties. Children are often, though not always, protected from difficulty but gradually learn to take the strain – another salty saying? – as a natural part of growing up.

But what if we were prevented from growing up? What if our community or society kept us in an infantile state, by chance or even intention, our only role to passively consume the untruths they chose to feed us? Buy this and be happy. Watch this and believe it to be real. Buy into the collective dream. It’s a common enough theme in plays and movies, from Death of a Salesmen to Pleasantville and The Stepford Wives.

One of the very best satires of reality television and its arrested development is Peter Weir’s film The Truman Show which features Jim Carrey as Truman Burbank, the unsuspecting star of a reality television show which is broadcast live around the clock and across the globe. His entire life has taken place within a giant dome in Hollywood, fashioned to create the seaside town of Seahaven Island and equipped with thousands of cameras to monitor all aspects of Truman’s life.

SPOILER ALERT: if you haven’t seen The Truman Show you might want to stop reading right there! In fact, if you’ve not seen it, do yourself a big favour and see it as soon as you can. Required viewing, I’d say. It often makes for uncomfortable viewing but it’s impossible to stop once you’ve started.

All of Seahaven’s residents are actors, either acting out a script or repeating lines fed to them by the show’s creator and executive producer who seeks to capture Truman’s real emotion and human behaviour, give audiences a relatable everyman and protect him from the outside world with an illusion of ‘normalcy’. We identify with Truman because the people he views as friends and Neighbors are secretly two-faced, a childish fear we can all share.

As you might expect, most of the film charts Truman’s dawning realisation of his predicament and growing desire for independence. This comes to a climax when he tries to escape Seahaven by boat. Will the executive producer continue to play God, we wonder?

Aha, you cry, here’s the link to all the nautical stuff that naughty old Nomad was flagging up and tying to the mast earlier! Well, the following clip from the film should make the connection even more obvious, though I think the proverb A Smooth Sea Never Made A Skilled Sailor has something relevant to say about Truman Burbank’s disenfranchised plight before he makes his bid for freedom and by extension asks us hard questions about how free we are who watch the watchers watching him …Image result for dr seuss bee watchersImages:  Threadless   The Art of Dr. Seuss



You Can Have Any Colour You Like As Long As It’s Orange!

Here are three for the price of one to end my little festival of acrostica. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. Suppose now I’ll have to start thinking of something sensible to post about …


P olice came knocking on my door last night, ‘In
R esponse to a complaint,’ they said, ‘about music.’
E ver ready and willing to help, my very
F irst thought was to turn the volume down. ‘Is that
E nough?’ I asked. ‘Any level of free jazz is too loud,’ they
R eplied. ‘We’re preferring charges.’ I told them I’d prefer they didn’t.Image result for free jazz






P assion
R emembers.
E nnui
F orgets.
E asy choice if you’re sane!
R un that by me again …

Image result for forgetting


P lease don’t ask me whether I would
R ather attend this or that school, this or that hospital.
E very time you saddle me with choice, you duck responsibility and
F orgo your firm claim to be in charge. Any government worth the name makes
E ach school and every hospital a haven of excellence and safety.
R ather let us choose between the people’s champions and charlatans like you.

Image result for education and health



Fine Art America

Debug Lies

National Research and Development Centre for adult literacy and …

Stimulus: WordPress Daily Prompt Prefer

Up Against It

So far I’ve enjoyed my week responding to the WordPress Daily Prompt. All the words have stimulated the old grey matter and I’m quite smug about satisfied with the results.

Until now. Today’s word is orange. Now I’ve nothing against colours … or even colors. Blue would be fine. So would green. Or red, yellow, purple, pink … all of them alive with ready associations! But orange! Not only does nothing rhyme with orange, nothing of any interest comes to mind with orange.

Oh yeah, Donald Trump – as I said, nothing of any interest …

What’s the big deal, I hear you say, it’s only one day, give it a miss, tomorrow’s word will be great … so good! Thing is, though, if you set yourself homework you have to do it. And a week spread over eight days isn’t a week, it’s a Beatles song.

Talking of which, don’t know about you but I could do with a bit of light relief from all this pointless agonising …


Ah well, refreshed by that fab and groovy nugget of nostalgia, here’s my penultimate acrostic poem:

O pinion is divided. Some friends
R eckon the girl of my dreams should be
A ngela from Amsterdam, extremely
N aughty but nice. Other friends
G o for Pamela from Preston,
E xtremely respectable but rude. So, reader, should I choose Pam … ?                                (continue by reading acrostic word)


Related image


Image: pearlfmradio.sx

Stimulus: Orange

Perchance To Dream

S leep? Constant cafetieres of caffeine concentrate keep it at bay.

U nwelcome thoughts invade my mind, you see, like midnight shades.

R eal as day, I swear, whole nations lose their way in giant mazes.

R ising heat brings drought or flood while chimneys, cars and planes

E at fossil ferns. Whole species turn to face the wall while I’m

A wake! What haunted nightmares lurk in the dark if I should

L et myself slip into slumber? What unholy horrors wait for morning?


Image result for nightmare


Image: Medical Daily

Stimulus: WordPress Daily Prompt Surreal

Message To Love

– Zog from Planet Zogos – hereby
D eclare that my allegiance to anywhere in particular has come to an
E nd and that I am
N ow and forever a citizen of simply everywhere.
T he movie Woodstock: 3 Days of Peace and Music finally got to our solar system.
I will therefore no longer be using my SuperSonic ZappoBlaster RayGun
T o deprive other sentient beings of life and shared wonder.
Y ou are all henceforth my sisters and brothers beyond space and time.


Image result for alien watches woodstock

Image: Black Hole Reviews – blogger

Stimulus: WordPress Daily Prompt Identity

Took a Leap

T ook a leap and began to write this without an idea in my head,
R eckoning something cool or clever would come along. Told myself it
A lways
D oes, sooner or later,
E ven though that’s usually later rather than sooner. But this one’s
M ore than halfway through
A nd I’m starting to wonder where it’s headed because we’re getting
R eal close to the end and for the life of me I just can’t think of a
K iller last line … OMG, You! For pity’s sake, don’t shoot!! AARRRGGGGHHHHH!!!



Image result for when the plot flags bring in a man with a gun


Stimulus: WordPress Daily Prompt Trademark

Image: AZ Quotes